By Vicki Shaver
The holidays can be a real challenge for low carb dieters – especially ones who crave chocolate. It was a few weeks before Thanksgiving when I first embarked on my low carb adventure. With the whole holiday season staring me in the face, I knew I had to come up with a strategy. At a time of year when food is inextricably entwined with the celebration, it is downright sacrilegious not to partake. How would I be able to avoid all of those traditional temptations? From the tins of homemade candies at the office to the decadent dessert that your mother-in-law makes, roadblocks are presented at every turn. However, there is hope. Over the years I have come up with a few holiday hints, and even a recipe or two that will allow you a taste of the season without falling off the low carb wagon.
Hint #1 – BE PREPARED! The Boy Scouts were onto something here. The quickest way to sabotage your low carb day is to leave the house without a plan, especially when holiday goodies abound.
Hint #2 – FAT IS YOUR FRIEND! Don’t be afraid of it. Not only does it make everything taste good, it fills you up. Instead of relying on willpower, rely on fat! It truly is my secret weapon.
Here is some practical advice on how to incorporate these hints into your holiday events:
Bring Your Own Cream (BYOC)
Bring a small carton of half-n-half (see Hint #2) to gatherings for use in your coffee when dessert is being served. In fact, you can pre-flavor your cream with sugar-free syrup (DaVinci’s French vanilla or hazelnut are delish!) and the coffee becomes your dessert!
Bring Your Own Dessert (BYOD)
Make your own sugar-free, low carb dessert to bring to the party. If you bring dessert, then you know there will be something available for you to enjoy (see Hint #1). Since their main ingredient is cream cheese, a low carb staple, cheesecakes are very easy to convert to low carb. All you need to do is replace the sugar in the recipe with a sugar substitute. You can find over 100 LC Cheesecake recipes, including Mocha, Peanut Butter Cup, White Chocolate Pumpkin, Coffee Caramel, Chocolate Chip and Snickerdoodle, at LowCarbFriends Recipes.
Eggnog Your Day
This time of year I put eggnog in my coffee nearly every morning. I fill my mug halfway with eggnog and top it off with steaming hot java. This fills me with the holiday spirit. You can also spike your eggnog with rum for another version of that holiday spirit! Here is my favorite LC eggnog recipe. This eggnog is light and frothy, not syrupy like the store-bought kind.
Separate 2 eggs into two bowls, one with whites, one with yolks.
Beat a ½ tsp. of Splenda into the yolks until lemon-yellow color.
Beat a ½ tsp. of Splenda into whites until peaks form (frothy).
Gently fold yolks and whites together.
Slowly mix in about a 1/3 cup of cream (half and half, heavy or whipping) until you get the consistency that you want. You can use as much as a cup if you like it less eggy.
Taste – if it’s not sweet enough for you, add more Splenda, mix in sugar-free syrup (French Vanilla is good) or add a shot of spiced rum.
Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
This recipe makes about a cup of eggnog.
Note: Leftover eggnog should be refrigerated, and if not consumed within 24 hours, discarded.
What makes this recipe traditional is the frothy texture and the fact that the eggs are raw. If that is unsettling to you, or if the traditional recipe looks too labor intensive, then try the next one.
Safe and Easy Eggnog
Mix 1 cup egg substitute with about 1/3 cup cream (same choices as above).
Add artificial sweetner to taste (1-2 tsps).
Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
The reason that this is a safe alternative is that the egg substitute is pasteurized. Also, as you can see, it is very easy. The down side is that is isn’t as thick and foamy as the traditional.
Top Your Hot Chocolate
Take advantage of the fact that whipping cream is low carb and high in fat (see Hint #2). Use it in your sugar-free hot chocolate (I like Swiss Miss No Sugar Added mix). You can either stir it right in for a creamier tasting hot chocolate or whip some up and put a dollop on top. For an even easier version, use Cool Whip or the whipped topping that comes in an aerosol can. These have some added sugar, but the convenience makes up for it. You’ll never want for a marshmallow again.
Why stop at hot chocolate? You can also top your coffee or eggnog with whipped cream. No one will ever know that you are dieting when they see you with a whipped cream mustache clutching your hot mug of holiday cheer!